Monday, 12 June 2017

Urban Sketching

Ever since I fell in love with the the pen and ink illustrations of Ronald Searle, I have been enticed to attempt to draw people in places such as towns, cafes or any where else they might congregate. I have always been held back by a lack of confidence and a feeling of not really knowing what I want my drawings to look like. Most of my life I have been trying to find artistic inspiration in the natural world around me. This is fine but, as I find myself more and more drawn to urban environments just through the necessities of living, I find my artwork is taking on a new sense of direction and interest. Without going into too much detail I get a sneaking suspicion that this is also a consequence, or reaction to, some long term health issues and medication. My art has to evolve and looking back I wonder if I should have done more training. Creativity has always been a personal journey and, fortunately, has more than adequately kept me employed even though what I do in my own time is very different to the artwork I do for International Greetings.

Each lunchtime I look forward to going to a small cafe where I have freedom to sit in a corner and sketch the people around me - it is a fun and creative time. It has also become a little social world and I can end up spending an hour talking to new acquaintancies.

I don't always find it easy finding a comfortable place in an urban/social setting in which to sketch. Sometimes I feel quite secure and relaxed. Other times I can feel exposed and self-conscious. What I am trying to do is to learn a confident way of  drawing what I want to draw. It is a big learning curve for me. What I also suspect is coming out of the process is a subtle change in how I view and relate to people. This could be part of a journey that is initiating some subtle emotional healing. I have moved away from the iPad and back to my sketchpad. I would prefer to use the iPad because of the tools available to me but I think there is a greater discipline in moving back to traditional pen and ink illustration. It just has a fluidity and character that I can't get on a small screen and it works in bright sunlight. One day, it would be interesting to try out one of the large 12.9 inch iPad Pros in this context. However, I am not sure I really want to carry around an £700 sketchbook and a £100 Apple Pencil in the middle of Luton!

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